Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Wheatley Heights) recently announced that four bills she sponsored to improve libraries on Long Island and across the state have passed the Assembly. The legislation includes increased funds for library projects as well as measures to help libraries run more smoothly.
“While they certainly can be a quiet space to dive into a novel, libraries are far more than places to read,” said Jean-Pierre. “Libraries have served as important centerpieces in our communities for years by providing internet access and educational resources and supporting other local libraries. As chair of the Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, I’ll continue to do all I can to ensure that libraries receive the funding they need to serve our residents as we continue to recover.”
One of Jean-Pierre’s bills would increase the percentage of total funds appropriated to a library system from 10% to 50% that may be used to support the total costs for projects set to receive state aid beyond 75% of the total project approved costs (A.7060-A). This change would provide greater discretion in awarding capital grants, a change that would support small and rural public libraries that are disproportionately disadvantaged under current statute, noted Jean-Pierre.
Jean-Pierre also authored and helped pass legislation that would:
- require publishers to offer licenses for electronic books to libraries under reasonable terms, which will help save money and offer more copies of books and literature (A.5837-B);
- requires library board of trustees to take basic training so they can better serve their communities and know how to best allocate public funds (A.6121-B); and
- extends the time library construction aid can be used, along with adjusting other requirements so library services can be delivered more efficiently (A.7021).
Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre also helped pass the 2021-2022 state budget, which provided an additional $20 million for library construction grants for a total of $34 million.
The budget also restored $4.5 million in aid to public libraries and increased funding by $2.5 million, for a total of $94.2 million.